Some want to revisit affordable housing, other public requirements

ASPEN AND CARBONDALE REAL ESTATE – After gaining approvals from the town of Carbondale three years ago, before the downturn in the housing market, the developers of the Mountain Sage Townhomes built the first 14 of the 26 approved units.They hit the market just as the bottom fell out, and sat empty for nearly a year until a couple of units finally sold late last year. A decision to make some units available for rentals also helped keep the bank happy.But construction on the remaining 12 units — including four deed-restricted affordable housing units that were mandated to be part of the overall mix — is in a state of limbo.A soft real estate market and tighter lending rules is mostly to blame. But another complicating factor has to do with the amount of public costs, in the form of affordable housing, park and open space requirements, design standards and off-site infrastructure improvements, that have become extra burdensome for developers, especially in a tough economy.Mountain Sage is just one example of the many stalled real estate development projects in the valley that earned approvals from local governments before the economy tanked.
By John Stroud, Feb. 22, 2010 Aspen Times

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